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Inquiry to analyze Montreal Pride parade cancellation

The Gazette logo The Gazette 2022-08-09 T'Cha Dunlevy, Montreal Gazette
People walk along Sherbrooke St. E. in Montreal Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022, during a protest march that was made after the Pride Parade was cancelled. © Provided by The Gazette People walk along Sherbrooke St. E. in Montreal Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022, during a protest march that was made after the Pride Parade was cancelled.

An inquiry will be held to analyze the events leading to the last-minute cancellation of Montreal’s Pride parade on Sunday , a spokesperson for the mayor’s office has confirmed.

Mayor Valérie Plante and members of her cabinet met with Montreal Pride organizers on Monday evening, including director Simon Gamache and Moe Hamandi, president of the board of directors.

“The point of the meeting was to ensure the success of the next edition of the event, and also to restore public trust toward the organization and its partners,” city spokesperson Catherine Cadotte told the Montreal Gazette on Tuesday.

“In order to do that, the mayor made very clear her expectations. She asked for an independent inquiry in order to bring light and answers regarding the circumstances of the decisions leading to the cancellation of the parade, but also to have recommendations as to how we can rebuild trust toward the (Montreal Pride) organization.”

Montreal Pride organizers announced the cancellation just hours before the parade was scheduled to begin, Sunday morning, due to a lack of approximately 80 volunteers; they later admitted the decision was due to the fact staff had forgotten to hire around 100 paid “greeting agents” to clear the parade route. The situation left many revellers and floats stranded downtown with no event. Two spontaneous parades took place anyway.

An agreement in principle was reached at the meeting on Monday night, the details of which have yet to be finalized. The person who will lead the inquiry is to be named in the coming days, according to Cadotte.

The inquiry will seek to “understand how we got here,” she said. “The analysis will examine the decision (to cancel the parade) but also the decision process.”

The inquiry will go further and look at the structure and day-to-day operations of the organization.


Video: Montreal Pride parade cancelled due to lack of security staff (cbc.ca)

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“It could be an analysis of how Montreal Pride is governed, and its relationships with its partners, of its communications process and its finances,” Cadotte explained.

Plante recognizes that Montreal Pride is an important celebration for the LGBTQ+ community and for all Montrealers, according to Cadotte, and that the Montreal Pride parade and its affiliated events contribute to the reputation of Montreal, and are a testament to the city’s diversity.

“It’s an exceptional opportunity to celebrate the rights of the LGBTQ+ community,” Cadotte said. “As such, it’s important that the public’s confidence be reestablished.”

Plante said at a news conference on Sunday she was disappointed to learn of the parade’s cancellation on such short notice.

“I can assure you, from the city, if we had been made aware earlier, if we had known they were lacking the means, we would have put our energy into (making it happen).

“I feel frustration and disappointment,” the mayor added. “I love Pride. I’m proud Montreal is a city that is friends with the LGBTQAI2+ community.”

The mayor expects the inquiry to lead to “clear and concrete recommendations” as to how to proceed going forward. Her cabinet will propose candidates to lead the inquiry beginning this week.

“It’s important that the person have the necessary credentials, but also that they have an understanding and sensitivity to the realities of the LGBTQ+ communities,” Cadotte said.

The goal, she emphasized, is to “ensure that the proper mechanisms be put in place so that the coming editions of Montreal Pride be a success that is at the height of the expectations of Montrealers.”

Montreal Pride confirmed in a statement sent to the Gazette, Tuesday, that an independent inquiry will take place “in order to shed light on the circumstances leading to the cancellation of Sunday’s Pride parade, and more largely to reestablish the confidence of the communities and Montrealers.”

The organization said it would await the results of the inquiry before commenting further on the situation.

tdunlevy@postmedia.com

twitter.com/TChaDunlevy

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